PASS Summit 2016 was a week ago, and I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to put my thoughts into words. I’ve read many excellent blog posts about the conference and I wholly agree with them all, but I wanted to articulate my feelings in a blog post of my own. PASS Summit 2016 was my third Summit on paper, but was more like my first in reality. The previous two times, I went to the sessions, spent time on the exhibition floor, ate my lunch with other attendees and then I went back to my hotel to read up, do research, work or just watch TV.
Story time again. This tuesday I was to create a set of import packages in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to automate data loading from a couple of my customers’ storage systems. Said data comes in the shape of several text files - some delimited, some fixed length, all of varying size and shape. Anyone who’s worked with SSIS know how “fun” it is to click-click-click your way through the incomprehensibly boring GUI - a GUI that does NOT lend itself to any efficient work at all. We had been struggling with this for a couple of days before summer already, but the data format has changed and it’s basically the same amount of work to just redo the whole thing again from scratch than to try to edit all the tiny details in all the gazillion boxes everywhere.
I’ve just stepped on the train from Gothenburg and SQL Saturday #536, where I had the honor of giving a talk about consolidation with SQL Server 2016. This SQL Saturday was organized by Mikael Wedham, a very friendly and exceedingly knowledgeable Swede. He had managed quite an amazing lineup with speakers this year: John Q. Martin, Erland Sommarskog, Mark Broadbent and Cathrine Wilhelmsen just to mention a few. As events go, this one was a small-to-mid-sized event. I think I heard Mikael say that about 90 were registered and about 15-20 were no-shows. I’m sorry to see so many no-shows, especially as this is an all-volunteer event all around, but then I was very happy to see everybody else that DID show up and make the event spectacular.
A large part of my work as a consultant is giving presentations and teaching stuff. I’ve been doing presenting and teaching since 2000 and I feel fairly good at it. When I started out I was young and inexperienced, something I compensated for with a huge ego instead. Needless to say, I had … mixed results. Thankfully I’m a quick learner and dialed back the ego and increased the use of my ears to a level where I consistently managed to get both my points across and get good scores. I had my own company in parallel with my normal job at the University and taught for a company called Learning Tree.
Things are slowly getting back to normal after the sudden passing a few weeks ago. Sure, it was “only” a cat, but as me and my wife don’t have any kids (and have no intention of getting any either), the cats are our kids. Anyhow, I’ve updated the blog a bit to make it more useful to myself. I’m using Feedly on my iPad for RSS aggregation, and I had the bright idea the other day to do the same on the blog as I don’t always carry my iPad around. Said and done, and there is a new link at the top for the aggregation page.
I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. This has several reasons, ranging from work, to lots of things to do outside work and what I’d like to take a moment to talk about today – the death of one of my cats. I got Salsa, as she was called, back in May of 2001 when she was about 8-9 weeks old. She and her sister Tesla (along with a couple of other kittens) were born on March 15th, 2001. Straight from the get-go it was obvious that they were very different from each other – most likely due to different fathers.
Three amigos joined me for a cluster installation the other day. Neither of them was very friendly, so I decided to call them all out in one place in order for others to steer clear. The opinionated folder Using mount point folders is a great idea for neatness and to avoid having a gazillion drive letters in play. It is also a great idea to review the best practices for SQL Server clusters on mount point folders, as there are a few gotchas. This blog post lays it all out. If you fail to set up the correct permissions, funky stuff will ensue.
I had a case the other day where the customer called and told me that he had a bit of a performance problem. Well, I’ve heard that a few times over the years, and asked him to elaborate. He sent me a screenshot of SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer and, well, it kind of points the finger to one thing: Um. Yeah. The ASYNC_NETWORK_IO thing. It kind of … sticks out. Okay, so how to tackle this then? We know what waits are happening, but where do we go from here? Well, It’s time to find out exactly what is generating said waits.